The Avengers 2: James Spader’s Face & Body Will Be Used In Ultron Design

Published 1 year ago by , Updated November 25th, 2013 at 8:59 am,

517949228 c 857 572 The Avengers 2: James Spaders Face & Body Will Be Used In Ultron Design

After revealing the subtitle of The Avengers sequel at Comic-Con, it only took a month before Marvel Studios took to their official site to make the official announcement that James Spader, currently starring in NBC’s new hit series The Blacklist, would be playing its titular villain Ultron. There was no seemingly endless series of casting rumors and reports. The news was unexpected and fast, the result of writer and director Joss Whedon having a clear idea early on of what he wanted to do with The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

As a robotic and AI-based villain, Ultron will be significantly different than Loki and his army of alien thugs from The Avengers but that doesn’t make the character any less human, according to everyone in the know.

Speaking with Huffington Post, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige spoke briefly about the casting of James Spader as the titular villain of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, re-confirming what we previously heard from insiders about his face being utilized to help the character emote.

“Well, I think it will be more than a voice role – we’ll be capturing his face and his body to create a whole performance. He’s a very unique and incredibly exciting and unpredictable actor. And Ultron in the comics is a robot, but what’s cool about him in the comics – and certainly how Joss Whedon is interpreting him for the movie – is that he is much more than just a robot. That he’s infused with much character. And I don’t want to say too much, but you can imagine James Spader will be very dynamic in his portrayal of this character.”

Feige continued, laughing, explaining that they didn’t sign Spader just to do a robot voice. The thing about Ultron is that he (it?) is very emotional, so much so that he hates the Avengers and holds a personal grudge against them for reasons that won’t be clear until we see the film since Whedon is crafting a new Ultron origin story different than in the comics.

James Spader Voicing Performing Ultron Avengers 2 The Avengers 2: James Spaders Face & Body Will Be Used In Ultron Design

Although the Ultron design revealed in the teaser reveal for The Avengers: Age of Ultron at San Diego Comic-Con this summer was a near identical version of the character in Marvel Comics, what was shown could be just be part of the design, one step in the design, or a helmet on top of Ultron’s true face. Spader previously talked about having to go in for “extensive photographs, head scans, body scans” taken of him so Marvel can design the live-action version of Ultron based on his likeness. Whedon also told Marvel a little about how and why Spader was the obvious choice.

“Spader was my first and only choice. He’s got that hypnotic voice that can be eerily calm and compelling, but he’s also very human and humorous. Ultron is not Hal. Spader can play all of the levels. He’s the guy to break The Avengers into pieces.”

Marvel fans may have caught a glimpse of the leaked animatics (see below for image) from The Avengers which revealed original, alternate scenes between Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and his assistant AI JARVIS (Paul Bettany) where a darker side of JARVIS is revealed as he discusses the perfect being, an artificial design with a human face, showing an aggressive tone and positioning himself as being seemingly better than The Avengers.

Clearly this was Whedon thinking ahead (since he had the Ultron idea in mind back then) but the scenes were too foreboding and out of place for the first film since in the comics Ultron does take control of JARVIS although he’s a human butler in the books. Like the character of Wasp, this particular plot thread was dropped completely for the film, but like the Avengers 2 teaser reveal suggests, Ultron has something to do with Iron Man (or at least his tech and armor) and maybe a little something to do with magic.

As for Spader’s performance, we’re curious as to whether or not he’ll be acting on set against Earth’s Mightiest in a motion capture suit or some hybrid of armor pieces and motion capture equipment a la Iron Man, or if he’ll be doing it in studio and having it inserted later as CGI like Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk.

The fact that Spader’s face will be used, and from what was shown in The Avengers storyboards of crazed JARVIS, could Whedon be setting up for the introduction of Vision, the android Avenger?


Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 31, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie news!

Source: HuffPo

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  1. errrr…..I dont know about the whole face/body thing…..

    • Well, he’s bald, so he already somewhat resembles the character.

      I suspect there will be a scene wherein Ultron adopts a ‘human’ guise (read: hologram) to speak with one of the Avengers.

      • Well, Telly Savalas, Yul Brenner, Pac man and a bowling ball are bald, so that is not it exactly. However, at least according to some art depictions of Jarvis the human butler in the earlier comics, Spader does resemble a kind of evil version of him facially, maybe a bit.

        I have been wondering for awhile if at the end of this movie we won’t see the birth of Vision? Which, by the way, even though they have re-written Ultron’s birth, might be a time to bring in Hank Pym to cause the birth of Vision (just speculating with what-if’s here, since things have been a little reconstituted to say the least for this movie). At any rate, I sure would like to see Pym/Giant-Man/Goliath in this flick…or at least in Avengers #3 if not before. He is a favorite of mine…and Wasp as well! Marvel–God! We all want it, we all need it…just do it!

        • Pym tries to make his own version of Ultron after the villain devastates the Avengers team so SHIELD want their own self-aware AI so that humans won’t have to die if Ultron returns?

          • Or how about Ultron creates Ant-man, and then ant-man rebels and fights against Ultron!

    • I am hoping the scans are simply to have a 1:1 ratio between robot and Spader. so that when Spader does motion capture of something subtle the robot will replicate it down to the smallest detail.
      I hope it is not some sort of moving metal type design aka Silver Surfer or Terminator.

      • You also have to remember that Vision is essentially not mechanical in movement. He very much is human in movement. I can see Ultron evolving to a Vision like embodiment but only after starting out something like Stark armor and then going through several iterations.

        • Yeah I know exactly what you mean. I love that Spader has been cast as Ultron, but I think he definitely has the face for Vision as well. I could see him playing both essentially: ultron creates vision, both are “robots” so it wouldn’t be unreasonable for them to have similar voices. Plus that would also explain why he’s going in for body scans: for vision as well maybe?

          I think there’s so much going on and so many characters in AoU, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Vision isn’t introduced, or maybe barely touched on

      • It wont. Ultron will be nothing more than an Jarvis copy-infused, autonomous Iron Man suit gone rouge.

        • He sure does love red.

          • It explains the colour in the teaser trailer.

  2. Ewwwww. They just had to find a way to crush the good news didn’t they.

  3. Sounds great, Spader is an awesome actor and his performance in The Blacklist is stunning, hope some of that acting goes to AoU.

  4. Calm down. He said, “capturing his face and his body.” I doubt Ultron is going to look like James Spader.

    There’s a lot of room in the eyes and mouth. All that “energy” can take the shape of facial expressions.

    • Could be something covering up the actor, or a motion-capture, or something. Look at Serkis who did not resemble a chimp in real life in the reboot of the recent Planet of the Apes flick….finished project sure did look creepily like a live “more-than-a-chimp” though, didn’t it?

  5. Gonna use Spader’s face and body?! What is this, a movie about selling body-parts and entrails on the black market (“Giblet Trade”)?!

  6. It’s looking less and less like Coulson is Vision, they’re saving him for the movies. I can see Pym working on one of the robot’s from Ultron’s army from A2 in antman, then Vision would be set up for A3 to battle Thanos alongside Cap, Thor, Iron man, Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Wasp, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Giantman!

    Avengers 3 is gonna be awesome, they’ll need that kind of muscle for the mad titan.

    • #2 will be awesome; #3 will cause me to find my karma, discover a whole new level of consciousness, and yell, “Titz onna Ritz, man!” Can’t get much more mentally orgasmic than that!

      • Yeah A3… I’m gonna be in the theatre, hovering about 6 inches above my seat, it’ll be one for the ages. Ultron is cool enough but the Infinity Gauntlet on screen?!… My 12 year old fantasies are coming to life dude! It’s a great time to be a Marvel movie fan.

        • Hey, levitation! Not a bad super-power, P-Man! You could probably do alot of neat things with that! Raise ladies’ hemlines and stuff like that!!

    • “It’s looking less and less like Coulson is Vision…”

      Good. I never liked that ridiculous fan theory anyway.

      • I really wanted Paul Bettany (JARVIS) to be either Ultron or Vision, preferably Vision.

    • I don’t know. I still think Coulson will be the Vision and it will happen in the Ant-Man movie. Of course I’m just hoping, but there is already a Coulson SW connection so it kind of works.

  7. Not sure about the face/body scan thing myself, unless it’s to actually make a “suit” for him to do mocap in for more realism. I truly hope they don’t give Ultron a “face” other than what he has always had…

  8. Spader has incredible presence. I expect this film to be great.

  9. Look at all those people complaining about the head/face scans. Aren´t those the same people who cheered when it was announced that Spader will be Ultron?

    • I was against him at the start, hes unknown to me and Id rather they hire a professional voice actor.

  10. IT was stated that there will be different VERSIONS of Ultron throughout the film, so we may be getting different incarnations of Ultron, leading up to a more “humaniod” version of him in the final battle.

    It’s gonna be bad-ass.

  11. Dr. Jackson! rofl… :)

  12. I can’t see any reason for Ultron to assume the look of James Spader, so I’m not worried that this means anything but “performance capture” like we’ve seen often enough by now.

    UNLESS they have JARVIS assume a human form and be a butler like in the comics as a starting premise. But I don’t see that either.

    They’ve said things like, “see how we’ll fit him into Ultron’s body…” etc., but they’re just speaking casually and people are quick to take it literally.

  13. I wonder if his performance in ‘The Blacklist’ led to his casting in this movie. I expect the delivery of lines in both will be identical, which, going by this news, would place a heavy emphasis on said delivery.

    In other words, perfect.

    • According to Whedon, he had Spader in mind for Ultron while he was busy filming The Avengers in 2011.

  14. This is probably something similar to Andy Serkis as Gollum, King Kong, and Ceasar, or Zoe Saldana in Avatar, or Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk. Ultron likely won’t look like Spader, but will have his movements.

  15. I’m not worried at all on what they’re planning to do with ultron. Sounds like an even more advanced version of the T-1000 from the terminator and ultron is terminator like so what The hell. Like I said just give us a good damn movie whedon.

  16. I said this in a earlier article, ultron will be in the same vein as The robo version of Cain in Robocop 2. Numerous leaked reports.

    • Which is sort of ironic because Cain in that movie had the (now dead) guy’s head and face shown on a screen in the robot’s chest like Arnim Zola.

      I hated Robocop 2 and 3 though, terrible, terrible movies.

      • Yes but now it will be Spaders face

  17. So now, Ultron is a bald, middle aged, over weight bloke?

    Oh, no no,, that’s Joss Whedon….

  18. I was never really a big Avengers fan to know Ultron but, and someone correct me if I am wrong, wasn’t Ultron made of Adimantium and when and if defeated did he not reconstruct and improve based on the previous version and what defeated him? So basically this guy is going to be around until the Scarlet Witch hex’s him out. Do I have that about right? Also didn’t the Vision – also a robot – help to beat Ultron with the help of Ant-Man, Hank Pym, his real creator?

    Now I get the JW has changed the story plot from the comic so my points may just be moot. But if he makes to many changes will that actually change to arch of the story this could only be a one time villain for the Avengers, who he HATES!

  19. I think Spader is great and Ultron will not resemble him except for the voice.
    The thing I want is the Wasp!
    Rashida Jones has the right looks to be a good candidate for the role. But I havent seen the Paul Rudd-Rashida relation on films. I´ve heard is good though.

  20. So Ultron will be a chubby, balding robot?

    • YES!!!!! LOL

  21. This thread is hilarious because everyone is going out of their way doing their mighty best to bend reality and say they are GLAD that Spader is gonna be ULTRON, but he’s NOT REALLY gonna look like Spader!!

    Come on guys; “…we’ll be capturing his face and his body to create a whole performance…. you can imagine James Spader will be very dynamic in his portrayal of this character.”

    It’s all right there! ^^ lol

  22. The female Ultron in Mighty Avengers was liquid metal like the T-1000. It also spawned from Iron Man’s armor and kept Tony trapped within its body, forcing the Avengers to hold back to avoid hurting their friend.

  23. Very excited about this because one, I love James Spader and secondly because I have no idea on how this is going to look in the end- the first moment of seeing it is going to be very exciting for me haha.

    Finally, I don’t know how they do it but everyone Marvel seems to cast is someone who I’ve been a huge fan of before- chris pratt, cooper, james spader, (hopefully) paul rudd etc. – people who I love but would never
    expect to be cast in these sort of movies- I don’t know if a lot of marvel fans share my tastes and I know marvel aren’t doing this on purpose obviously but its as if they’re pandering entirely to my tastes haha.

  24. Spader is a fantastic actor. His performance in the Blacklist is one of the only things keeping me interested in that show. He’s a great addition to this movie.

  25. And this is how my “hate” letter to Marvel will go if Paul Bettany becomes The Vision.

    Dear Marvel.
    Because of your decision to not only have The Vision in your movie but to make him Paul Bettany I now must give you ALL my money! AND kiss Kevin Feige on the mouth! Poorer and confused….Me

  26. According to a part of a comic officially connected to the movies, ‘Iron Man 2: Public Identity’, a teenage Anthony “Tony” Stark was speaking to his butler, the human Edwin Jarvis whom he was (Like in the comics) very emotionally close to. Tony was inspired to create a technological Edwin Jarvis after Edwin passed away and named it; (According an official novelization of ‘IRON MAN’ (2008)) Just.A.Rather.Very.Important.System..

    In that comic, Jarvis had the physicality that can be portrayed through James Spader. Ultron having a connection to Stark in ‘THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON’ and the (Likely initially) body and face of Spader implies that Tony is taking J.A.R.V.I.S’ likeness to his beloved butler Edwin Jarvis further. But things’ll get horrible after that (Possibly) due to the behind-the-scenes work of Thanos. (Joss Whedon confirmed that Thanos will not appear in the movie but will be a behind-the-scenes character who’ll work to secretly challenge The Avengers) Hmmm.